EDP Sciences
Free access
Issue
A&A
Volume 367, Number 2, February IV 2001
Page(s) 652 - 673
Section Diffuse matter in space
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20000434


A&A 367, 652-673 (2001)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20000434

Low-excitation atomic gas around evolved stars

I. ISO observations of C-rich nebulae
D. Fong1, M. Meixner1, A. Castro-Carrizo2, V. Bujarrabal2, W. B. Latter3, A. G. G. M. Tielens4, D. M. Kelly5 and E. C. Sutton1

1  University of Illinois, 1002 W. Green St., Urbana, IL 61801, USA
2  Observatorio Astonómico Nacional, Apartado 1143, 28800 Alcalá de Henares, Spain
3  CalTech, SIRTF Science Center, MS 314-6, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA
4  Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, PO Box 800, 9700 AV Groningen, The Netherlands
5  University of Arizona, Steward Observatory, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA

(Received 11 July 2000 / Accepted 24 November 2000 )

Abstract
We present ISO LWS and SWS spectra of far-infrared (FIR) atomic fine structure lines in 12 carbon-rich evolved stars including asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stars, proto-planetary nebulae (PPNe) and planetary nebulae (PNe). The spectra include grating and Fabry-Perot measurements of the line emission of [OI], [CII], [SiI], [SiII], [SI], [FeI], [FeII], [NeII] and [NII]. Only 5 out of our 12 object sample have been detected in at least one of these FIR lines. When we include the 12 oxygen-rich evolved stars from Castro-Carrizo et al. (2001, Paper II), we find that atomic line emission is observed only in those sources in which the central star's $T_{\rm eff}$ $\geq$ 10 000 K. Above this cutoff, the number of detectable lines and the intensity of the line emission increase as $T_{\rm eff}$ increases. These trends suggest that the atomic lines originate from photodissociation regions (PDRs). In general, the kinematics of the atomic gas, derived from line fits to the Fabry-Perot data, are comparable to the molecular expansion velocities. These kinematics are expected for atomic cooling lines associated with circumstellar PDRs. AFGL 618, however, appears exceptional with dual velocity components: a narrow component (<20 km s-1) that may be associated with a PDR, and a broad component ($\sim$66 km s-1) that may be produced in post-shocked, accelerated gas. A new PDR code which properly treats enhanced carbon abundances was used to model the observations of our carbon-rich objects. The predicted line intensities agree reasonably well with the observations. Shock models, however, do not compare well with the observed line intensities. PDR mass estimates ranging from $\sim$0.01-0.2 $M_\odot$ were derived from the [CII] 158 $ \mu$m line emission. The atomic gas constitutes only a small fraction of the total mass for young planetary nebulae, but its importance grows significantly as the nebulae evolve. Our overall analysis shows that photodissociation, and not shocks, dominates the evolution of the circumstellar envelope by transforming the initially molecular asymptotic giant branch envelopes into the atomic gas found in proto-planetary and planetary nebulae.


Key words: atomic data -- stars: AGB and post-AGB -- stars: circumstellar matter -- stars: mass-loss -- ISM: planetary nebulae

Offprint request: D. Fong, d-fong@astro.uiuc.edu

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